October 1, 2008

Education Focus Group and Presidential Debate Watch Hosted By NASBE

A focus group of state education leaders from around the country will be conducted during the October 15 presidential debate between Senators John McCain and Barack Obama as they discuss education issues and other domestic concerns.

Education has been a back burner issue for much of the presidential campaigns, even though the controversial No Child Left Behind Act is up for renewal in Congress this year. The final presidential debate will be the last opportunity for the candidates to present their education positions to a national audience.

State board of education members will offer their views about national education policies and what the reform priorities should be for the new administration in a town hall-style meeting immediately prior to the debate. Afterwards, state education leaders will be available for their instant analysis of the candidates' debate performance and their opinions about the education answers in particular.

State board members are citizen policymakers responsible for overseeing the states' K-12 education systems, including the establishment of academic standards, graduation requirements, teacher licensure rules, and state tests. Members are elected or gubernatorially-appointed and span the ideological spectrum.

Their position and status provide a unique perspective on education policy that is informed on state and national issues yet grounded in the local concerns of their communities. State board members offer a knowledgeable and main street viewpoint on national education debates.

Domestic issues, including education, will be the focus of the third and final presidential debate held on October 15 at Hofstra University and moderated by Bob Schieffer.

Representatives of 31 states will be in attendance, including the chairs of 13 states. State board members are convening at this time for their national conference, hosted by the National Association of State Boards of Education.

 What:  Education Focus Group and Presidential Debate Watch  When:  8:15 pm Wednesday, October 15  Where: Arlington Ballroom Salon Crystal Gateway Marriott 1700 Jefferson Davis Highway Arlington, Virginia  Who:   State Board of Education Members from 31 states 13 State Board Chairpersons National Association of State Boards of Education 

NASBE, www.nasbe.org, represents America's state and territorial boards of education. Our principal objectives are to strengthen state leadership in education policymaking; advocate equality of access to educational opportunity; promote excellence in the education of all students; and assure responsible lay governance of education.